Dresses are the simplest way to pull an outfit together, but finding one that ticks all the boxes can be tricky. 

Woman sorting clothing

Look at the Fabric

The fabric is often the most critical factor when shopping for a dress online. It affects how hot or cold you’ll be, how much it wrinkles, and how easy it is to clean. Look for materials like cotton, lyocell, and wool, which are breathable and wrinkle-resistant. And avoid synthetics like polyester, which can make you sweaty and uncomfortable.

Also, look for a fabric’s weight, typically in grams per square meter (gsm) or ounces per square yard (oz/yd2). A higher gsm or oz number indicates a heavier, more durable fabric.

Other factors to consider include how the dress feels against your skin, how it drapes, and whether it’s made with natural or synthetic materials. And remember that many dresses need special undergarments to make them work. For example, backless and plunging necklines may require a seamless thong or shapewear, while silk slip dresses will need boob tape or adhesive bras. Lastly, it’s always good to find out if the company offers free returns and how long their return policy is.

Look at the Stitching

If you’re searching for a dress that will stand the test of time, it’s worth the extra money to splurge on higher-quality fabrics. However, only some things in your wardrobe need to be made from merino wool, so it’s essential to identify quality garments without relying on brand names or price tags.

For example, a loose stitch can be a sign of poor workmanship. Instead, look for tightly knotted threads that will last longer. Also, check the seams and hems for consistency. Mismatched stripes at the seams signify that the garment was rushed into production and will likely show over time.

Also, read the care label before committing to an online purchase. This will give you an idea of how much maintenance the garment will require. And, if you need more clarification about your size, try to shop at stores with generous return policies. This will allow you to return items that don’t fit or feel right, if necessary.

Look at the Seams

One of the most important factors in cheap quality dresses is its fabric. No matter how well-designed the rest of the piece is, a flimsy or scratchy material will never make for an excellent addition to your wardrobe.

When browsing online, the best way to evaluate a dress’s quality is to check its seams, especially with patterned fabrics, and check that the pattern matches along the seams to ensure that care has been taken with construction.

And if you’re still unsure, try to purchase from a site with a liberal return policy. Relaxed returns policy, allowing you to return dresses even past the official sale period (though it’s best to buy during a storewide event). Click adds that keeping a measuring tape and reading reviews are excellent strategies to guarantee you purchase the correct size.

Look at the Neckline

If you’re shopping for a dress online, it’s essential to consider its neckline. A well-made dress should have a flattering neckline and look good on the person wearing it. Look for a line that sits right at the clavicle and isn’t too high or low. If the dress has a V-neckline, ensure it’s not too wide and doesn’t have a gap in the front.

Another way to tell if the dress is well-made is by looking at the color. A well-made dress will have a consistent color throughout the piece. It should also be free of blemishes and stains.

While spending hundreds on a dress that might not fit can feel risky, investing in a quality black dress is worth the price. It will serve you for formal, wedding events, dinner dates, and work functions. Plus, it will look great with your other wardrobe staples.

Look at the Sleeve Length

Whether you’re shopping for a black dress for the next formal event or just a comfy one to wear to brunch on the weekend, finding a well-made piece of clothing at an affordable price point can be a real treat. However, price only sometimes correlates with quality when it comes to dresses.

Whether you’re looking to hop on a new trend like slip dresses or cottagecore, the key to scoring those coveted online deals is understanding how to identify the pieces that will last. And, to do that, you need to know how to measure your sleeve length.

To take your sleeve measurement, unbutton your shirt and spread it flat with the collar facing down. Then, use your fabric tape measure to determine the distance from your shoulder seam to the break (where it bends) in your elbow — this is your sleeve length. Remember to keep your arms relaxed while measuring and to bend your elbow slightly, as this will help you find a perfectly fit sleeve.